A weekend gas pipeline explosion left thousands without heat in Manitoba, Canada, at a time when the temperature reached -4 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of nearly -30 degrees.
According to local authorities the blast shortly after midnight early Saturday some 30 miles south of Winnipeg did not appear suspicious upon initial review; however officials from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada are planning to further investigate the gas pipeline explosion, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported
Twelve hours after the blast occurred, the fire was extinguished; however the outage is reportedly expected to last up to 72 hours as the pipeline is repaired.
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No one was injured in the blast; however five homes in close proximity to the pipeline explosion were evacuated by firefighters in case the fire happened to spread.
Approximately 4,000 local residents lost heat due to the explosion, forcing the rural municipality of Hanover to declare a state of emergency mid-day Saturday, opening up warming centers to take in residents who had no heat.
"We know it's cold and people may be concerned about that but we are on the job here," Emergency Measures spokesperson Nicki Albus told CBC News on Saturday. "Everyone here's communicating well. We have a great group of people at the site and in the communities who have set up their emergency operation centers to handle this dilemma."
In addition to the local municipality providing warm centers for residents who are unable to remain in their homes, the local Abundant Life Fellowship Church also opened its doors on Saturday to welcome residents without heat.
"At this point, we’ve only had a few people coming, but we are definitely going to stay open for as long as we need to be running," Ester Reimer, a member of the church's congregation told CBC News. "We have people in place to help with meals and any of those other things that are going to become necessary."
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